I appreciate all the comments, information and reviews on this website, so I thought I would partially pay back my debt by writing a long review of the Pasquini Moka grinder.
Looks: Beautiful. I bought the chrome and it's also available in black. It looks great next to a stainless espresso machine such as my Isomac Millennium.
Build: Solid. If a burglar comes into your house in the middle of the night, grab the Moka instead of the 12-gauge. The case and both upper and lower burr carriers are thick, solid metal. The only downside is that if you're used to smacking the side of your grinder to dislodge the leftover grinds in the chute, you will learn that on the Pasquini a hard smack does nothing but hurt your hand.
Good size: It comfortably fits under the kitchen cabinets. The Mazzer doesn't. The Macap barely does. The Pasquini is 15.5 inches tall, the Mazzer is 18.5 inches (new model is 19.5 inches) and the Macap is 17 inches. Many people seem to do work-arounds by cutting the Mazzer hopper shorter, making new hoppers, or leaving the hopper off. This looks like it works fine for them, but I'd rather have something that fits under the cabinets and still looks good. The size of this grinder is also proportional to the size of a high-end prosumer espresso machine. The hopper still holds a half-pound of beans so it's plenty for home use.
Powerful: 1/3 hp motor, same output as the Mazzer and Macap. I'm less concerned about power ratings than how the Moka easily handles the load. Whether its spinning without beans or grinding for ristretto, there is no variation in speed of the motor. One difference from other grinders is that the motor is not direct drive. It has a gear reduction, which multiplies the torque as well as slowing down the burrs for cooler grinding.
Quiet: Virtually silent with no beans. Very quiet when running with beans. Sure beats a Rocky. Sound tests I've seen show it to be a hair quieter than the Mazzer, but it's close. The Mazzer has a higher pitched sound, which to my ears sounds more irritating. I haven't heard the Macap.
Doser: The doser is very solid, and adjusts to deliver anywhere from 6 to 9 grams of coffee. The doser has a metal housing, with plastic vanes. The doser trigger is solid metal with a very positive action. The unit is heavy enough that pulling the doser trigger does not move the grinder on the counter. The doser has a little tray under it to catch grounds that miss the portafilter. The grounds pretty much exit straight down, but those that miss the portafilter get caught by the tray. The countertop stays clean and the tray isn't screwed to the grinder so it is easy to pick up and wipe off.
The doser vanes completely clean out the doser. There is a little that remains in the chute between the grinder burrs and the doser, but since the chute is only about 3/4" there is not much that can get trapped there. The chute is at the very top of the doser and there is no guard, which makes it very easy to access and clean. There is absolutely no sign of static or clumping of the grounds.
Very consistent grind: It uses commercial burrs. The grounds looks like little fluffy flakes. There has been talk on CoffeeGeek about Rockys and Mazzers having slop in the threads that hold the burr group together, which may lead to an inconsistent grind. The Moka is solid metal with finely-machined threads so there is no play at all.
The Moka has indent clicks for the grind setting (it's not an infinite adjustment). There is a simple workaround: it's easy to remove the indent pin and spring and place a small piece of rubber between the grinder body and the upper burr holder. I used a piece of rubber weatherstripping, which is a little tacky and keeps the upper burr from rotating but also without jamming the burr carrier so that it can't be adjusted. Instant infinite adjustment!
Low Temperature Grind: Among high-end grinders, the Pasquini has the least heating effect on the beans according to the measurements of Whole Latte Love. This is a huge issue to some. Uber-geek David Schomer actually installed fans in his custom-made grinders at Café Vivace (where can we buy a home version of one of those?). One reason for this is the rotation speed. The Mazzer spins at 1600 rpm but the Pasquini is visibly quite a bit less. Yes, that means that it takes a few seconds longer to grind a double, but I have to flush the espresso machine, get out the cups, etc., so I don't care. It can grind a lot faster than I can dose, tamp and pull shots.
Hopper: I like that the hopper is smaller but still holds about a half a pound of beans. That's more than enough capacity for my use. To remove the hopper simply lift it off. Note that if there are beans in the hopper a playing card or any thin, flat piece of plastic or metal will slide under the hopper chute as you lift it and allow the hopper to be removed with the beans.
Setup: Before using the grinder, I'd suggest checking to make sure there is no foreign material in the burr area. First, unplug the grinder. Take off the hopper by lifting straight up. The upper burr simply unscrews counterclockwise several turns until is comes off. From here you can look into the grinding chamber and brush out any foreign material or test grounds from the factory. While you're at it, notice how heavy and solid the burr carrier is, along with the lower burr area, chute and housing.
This grinder is easy to dial-in. First, find the "zero-point" where the grinder burrs are so close they touch. With the grinder still unplugged, use your hand to reach in and rotate the burrs, and at the same time continue to screw down the burr carrier until you can feel the burrs barely touch. This is the zero point. For espresso adjust the grinder counterclockwise three numbered stops, and then plug in, load with beans, and pull a shot. Use the "2.5 oz in 25 seconds" standard to adjust from there. Once it's dialed in, just remember the numbered setting. I unscrew the burr assembly about once a week and clean it, then reassemble, and return to the numbered setting.
Competition: The Mazzer Mini has been the fashionable grinder on this website and alt.coffee. For those who have compared grinds and shots, the comments over and over are that grind quality of the Mazzer and Pasquini are virtually identical, and new reports on the Macap are that it's the same as well. I'd love to see a double-blind taste test among these three, but I would be surprised if there is an appreciable difference.
All are a big step up from the Rocky, and differ from commercial quality grinders only in the volume / speed / longevity in a commercial setting, not in the quality of the ground coffee. It appears the Mazzer has been popular because it was less expensive than the Moka, the infinite grind setting capability, and because Mazzer makes the commercial grinders used in espresso bars. People just put up with (or worked around) the Mazzer's tall height and messy doser issues.
So which one should you purchase? Mazzer, Macap, or Moka? They are very similar and there are are many opinions. The folks at www.espressopeople.com said that if they could have only one grinder to take to a deserted island, the Pasquini would be it (presuming this deserted island had electricity, of course). DailyGrind.com http://www.thedailygrinders.com/store/site calls it "the best grinder on the market." I suspect there are at least as many places that crown the Mazzer the best. The Macap is newer to the scene and from the initial reviews it will surely win fans.
The big issue against the Pasquini has been its price. In the past the Pasquini has been priced at $500 for the chrome, but the Mazzer Mini was only $400 for the chrome. For the $100 difference the Mini made more sense. Things have changed. The Pasquini Moka in the doserless version is available from Coffee & Kitchen and from 1-800-espresso.com for $425 including shipping. Go to http://www.coffee-makers-espresso-machines.com or www.1-800-espresso.com to see it. It appears that the Anfim Best grinder is the same thing. It's available at http://store.baristatools.com/anfm02.html in a doser model for $325 and the doserless for $269. Also, a Canadian retailer has an ECM-branded grinder that also appears to be the same doser model at http://www.mrcappuccino.com/ecm-grinder.htm for US$329.
Since the price is now the same as or lower than the Mazzer and Macap, this makes a grinder choice much tougher. In fact, with the doserless version now available for $269, in my view there is no reason to buy a Rancilio Rocky.
For me, the Pasquini Moka is the best choice. I like the slightly smaller size, the quiet sound, low temperature grind, clean operation and its good looks.